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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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How ICD-10 Affects You

How will the switch to ICD-10-CM affect you and your family?

Every time you see your doctor or go to the hospital emergency room for care, a note is written in your medical record about why you came in, what kind of health problem you have and how the problem will be treated.

These notes about your health are put into medical codes for the doctors and medical staff to use for many purposes. The most common is to bill insurance companies for your care. Another use is to count the number of people who are experiencing a health problem at the same time, like during flu season. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) use this information to alert patients to get their flu shot.

On October 1, 2015 most of the health care industry, including IHS, Tribal and Urban programs will stop using the ICD-9-CM medical codes and begin using the new ICD-10-CM codes. This change will provide better and more detailed information about your health care.

Example: If you break your arm,

In ICD-9-CM
There is no code to describe which arm is broken.

In ICD-10-CM
One code will describe which arm is broken, the bone that is broken, and if this is the first visit to treat the break or a follow-up visit. If it is a follow-up visit, information about how well the bone is healing is included in the code. You may see these codes on your Explanation of Benefits that is sent to you by your health insurance company.

To read more about the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM, see the CMS website on ICD-10-CM .